ANTIPOLO – San Miguel handed Will Navarro an extremely harsh welcome after mauling NorthPort, 104-86, for its first back-to-back wins in the 2022-23 Commissioner’s Cup, Wednesday night at the Ynares Center here.
The rookie wingman did make a good account of himself with 14 points, but the Beermen proved to be too tall of a mountain to climb as the perennial contenders led right from the jump and never looked back for win no. 3.
“That’s a very important game for us. That’s why I keep on telling the team that this is a very important game for us in order for us to advance,” said head coach Leo Austria as SMB now shares the 7th spot with NLEX at 3-3.
“You can see naman the standings eh, from No. 4 down, talagang scrambled doon eh. We can’t afford to lose against NorthPort,” he added.
Devon Scott continues to show his progress with 25 points and 16 rebounds to lead San Miguel in the victory despite missing stars Marcio Lassiter due to health and safety protocols and Chris Ross because of knee issues.
“We just really wanted to come out aggressive, everybody. My team did a very good job of finding me in locations where I didn’t have to do much to score the ball,” said the American big man, who also had six assists in 45 minutes.
CJ Perez had 15 points and six rebounds, Simon Enciso and Jericho Cruz fired 14 points apiece, while Robbie Herndon contributed 11 markers in the win that saw them lead by as many as 25 points twice late in the final period.
“In the last minutes, I told them that we need a killer instinct, because, in the past, we were lenient towards the end of the game after leading so much, in double figures. We don’t want to develop that,” Austria said.
San Miguel will cap off its busy stretch against the skidding Meralco (1-5) on Saturday, 4:30 p.m. in the same venue.
Prince Ibeh, meanwhile, led NorthPort with 16 points and 16 rebounds in the loss that dropped their record below .500 for the first time in the tilt (3-4).
Robert Bolick only had 10 points as he struggled to find the mark by shooting just 4-of-13 from the field. He, however, had seven assists.
NorthPort will look to arrest its two-game skid right away when it battles Rain or Shine in the PBA’s resumption from a quick holiday break on November 4, Friday, 5:45 p.m. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel 104 – Scott 25, Perez 15, Enciso 14, Cruz 14, Herndon 11, Tautuaa 9, Manuel 6, Zamar 6, Brondial 2, Canete 2, Faundo 0.
NorthPort 86 – Ibeh 16, Navarro 14, Bolick 10, Balanza 8, Ayaay 8, Tolentino 6, Ferrer 6, Chan 5, Salado 5, Santos 3, Caperal 3, Calma 2, Taha 0, Vigil 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16, 47-32, 78-61, 104-86.
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.